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Our first wake surf boat 20VTX good or bad idea?


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We are about to buy our first Wake/Surf boat.  So far we have just done free ski and wake board behind an in shore deep V so our expectations are low.  We plan for this to be our last boat so I am hoping that in a few years we will not be wishing we had gone with “x”.

I like the two used boat idea but distance from lake ect does not make that workable for us.

I have found one thread from 2017 where the family was pretty disappointed in a VTX but overall people seem pretty Ok with the choice but then the forum  search function keeps crashing so I know there are posts that I have not been able to get to.  

My daughter is 12 and 120 pounds, my son is a 220 pound state wrestling placer so we have body type diversity.  This is mostly going to be a family and friend boat for a couple of week trips to the lake each summer plus what day trips we can work in.  Let’s have fun but don’t expect to be on the lake enough to be super hard core.

The boat does have the full ballast option with hard and soft so we will have 3,850 LB fas it will go out the door.

Anyone who wants to provide any kind of feedback positive or not please chime in.  Looking to feel better about the direction we are going or forwarded as to why we should not.

Also any tips on options we should have RE anything to make the experience better is welcome.

Thanks in advance.

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ahopkinsVTX

I think you will be very happy with it. Many many people love the VTX because it can ski and do wake sorts very well. We will be testing out our 2020 this weekend in terms of skiing and surfing but here’s a thread of our 2019 which is very close to the 2017 you are looking at and it was an awesome boat!

 

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I think The VTX is perfect for you because you don’t have a hard core passion for any sport.  From what I’ve researched and read from this I this forum, It’s the best all-around ski-wakeboard-surf boat there is.

i don’t think you can go wrong. And if you decide to sell it, it’s one of the most sought after used boats.

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Do you water ski or slalom at all? The VTX is the perfect boat if you like doing slalom and surf. It is the crossover boat. Your thread mentions surf only so my gut reaction is the VTX is not ideal. 

What is your budget? Are there length restrictions for you? I’d certainly demo a few and see what you like. Make sure the dealer is maximizing for surf wave with Plug and Play bags. 

If you don’t slalom, you may want to consider a 22 LSV with wake plus hull. Or any Axis model above the A20 will deliver a better surf wave than the VTX in a budget friendly option. 

For surfing, all else being equal, the bigger the boat, the bigger the wave. 

Edited by Raleigh
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2 hours ago, Raleigh said:

Do you water ski or slalom at all? The VTX is the perfect boat if you like doing slalom and surf. It is the crossover boat. Your thread mentions surf only so my gut reaction is the VTX is not ideal. 

What is your budget? Are there length restrictions for you? I’d certainly demo a few and see what you like. Make sure the dealer is maximizing for surf wave with Plug and Play bags. 

If you don’t slalom, you may want to consider a 22 LSV with wake plus hull. Or any Axis model above the A20 will deliver a better surf wave than the VTX in a budget friendly option. 

For surfing, all else being equal, the bigger the boat, the bigger the wave. 

What we do now is just slalom and Wake Board, so no one to take along to demo a surf wake.  I think your first sentence answers the question, my son really likes to slalom, if we get a wake or surf focused boat he is going to feel left out which is not Ok for any family member.  We prefer to have something everyone can enjoy than cater to a specialty case at this point.  I am betting that the Wake and Surf quality will be good enough that we are not going to have friends or family not join us because the wake is so blah.

With all the trailering and launching more comfortable that my wife and son can handle a 20 ft boat vs the larger heaver options.  

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1 hour ago, ChadMoore69 said:

What we do now is just slalom and Wake Board, so no one to take along to demo a surf wake.  I think your first sentence answers the question, my son really likes to slalom, if we get a wake or surf focused boat he is going to feel left out which is not Ok for any family member.  We prefer to have something everyone can enjoy than cater to a specialty case at this point.  I am betting that the Wake and Surf quality will be good enough that we are not going to have friends or family not join us because the wake is so blah.

With all the trailering and launching more comfortable that my wife and son can handle a 20 ft boat vs the larger heaver options.  

Then the VTX will be perfect for your family. See promo video below and get stoked!

 

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1 hour ago, ChadMoore69 said:

What we do now is just slalom and Wake Board, so no one to take along to demo a surf wake.  I think your first sentence answers the question, my son really likes to slalom, if we get a wake or surf focused boat he is going to feel left out which is not Ok for any family member.  We prefer to have something everyone can enjoy than cater to a specialty case at this point.  I am betting that the Wake and Surf quality will be good enough that we are not going to have friends or family not join us because the wake is so blah.

With all the trailering and launching more comfortable that my wife and son can handle a 20 ft boat vs the larger heaver options.  

The VTX is a great boat for all around use, and I do not think you will be disappointed with it.  But....(there is always a but) you shouldn't entirely count out a VLX if your son's interest in slalom is not in a course.  

We had a VTX for 6 years. We skied the course with it, we surfed with it, our kids wakeboarded.  What we found was we ran out of interior room as kids brought friends.  We found we needed more room inside as our children got older, and friends came along (we have 4 kids, youngest is now 13, oldest just graduated from University of Vermont).  

If your son's is interested is course skiing, the VTX is the only option, really.  If its just slalom free skiing, i don't think you would be disappointed in a VLX, just something to consider, since you say you plan for this to be your last boat, i would at least look at a VLX.

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I think I was in a similar spot in January of 2017.

I had a Crownline 182, had returned to free slalom skiing after 30+ years and was having a ball.   BUT...  I had seen my kids surfing on another boat, and was interested in that for myself.   A long story made VERY short, we went to the Denver Boat show in Jan 2017, and wrestled HARD with the question between a VTX (an awesome crossover boat that will ski, wakeboard, and surf  - all very well), and a 22VLX.    I talked to tons of people.  I researched my brains out.  We went back a second day, and loaded both boats with adults recruited from the floor.     We ultimately decided on the 22VLX because of:

  • Extra 4" of beam, and secondarily the length.    Its shocking how much bigger the VLX feels.  We loaded 7 adults in both boats.   Either would have been workable, but the VLX felt much bigger and easier to get around in - bigger than you would think for a mere 4" wider.  We chose not to go even bigger (the 23LSV), mostly because of price.   At the time, I figured my average crew would be around 6.  In reality, we often have 7-9, and have had as many as 13 with a dog.  In retrospect the VTX would have been limiting - but YMMV, that is just us.
  • At 57 at the time, I knew my slalom days were limited, and any thoughts of running a course were really off the table.   I learned the hard way that high speed falls hurt a lot more at that age than they did in my mid 20's. 
  • I was really taken with WakeSurfing, tons of fun, and much lower impact. 

I wound up custom ordering a VLX with a diamond hull.  After three full seasons, my observations are:

  • The VLX is not a great slalom boat, even with the diamond hull.    With a light crew (3, the minimum legal here in CO), front ballast half full, at 30-31 mph the wake starts to lay down.  I have slalomed behind my nephews Sunsettter, and was spoiled by the flat ski wake.   The VLX has an odd small dip as you come out of the propwash, then the wake, then the flat outside the wake.   Skiable to be sure (one or two skis), but at my age, I wasnt ready to attack that as aggressively as I might have liked to.   I found that dip to be just a little unnerving, I didn't want to dig the tip of the ski in and cartwheel my old fat body and lose a part or all of the season to an injury.    As I have put on 3 more years, I find that I really dont crave slalom anymore, but I do crave surf... worse than any water sport ever for me.   I now load 3 boards, and unless I know someone specifically wants to ski, I dont even load the slalom, or my pair of skis on the boat anymore. 
  • The VLX is a great surf boat.   I have 550 PNP bags in the rear.  The boat surfs best with a crew of 7-8.  It likes bow weight, so with a small crew I have to bleed off some of the ballast in the rear so that the boat doesnt plow.   Im adding a portable bow sac this year to allow me to surf a big wave with a small crew. 
  • The VLX is a great Wakeboard boat (although I cant say that from personal experience, only from what my kids have told me). 
  • We use the boat in many different ways...  A typical day is out early,  everyone gets a surf set or two, then we head to a cove when the main channel starts to get rough.   We hang there for 3-4 hours, -  have lunch, float, paddleboard, play with the dog, etc etc.  If we stay late enough we might go back out for another surf set.  For US and the way we use it, the VLX is pretty close to a perfect all around boat.   But if you are into Slalom, I think the VTX is the better choice if it is large enough for your crew.

Just our $.02, your mileage may vary.   Take it as a data point. 

Im pretty sure you cant go wrong with either boat, they are both awesome.   BTW, My nephew with the Sunsetter just boat a VTX.  He is a hard core slalom guy, surf is fun, but is secondary to him.   Im just the opposite, hard core surf, secondary skiing.   I wanted just a LITTLE more room.  Both of us are VERY happy. 

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1 hour ago, asnowman said:

The VTX is a great boat for all around use, and I do not think you will be disappointed with it.  But....(there is always a but) you shouldn't entirely count out a VLX if your son's interest in slalom is not in a course.  

We had a VTX for 6 years. We skied the course with it, we surfed with it, our kids wakeboarded.  What we found was we ran out of interior room as kids brought friends.  We found we needed more room inside as our children got older, and friends came along (we have 4 kids, youngest is now 13, oldest just graduated from University of Vermont).  

If your son's is interested is course skiing, the VTX is the only option, really.  If its just slalom free skiing, i don't think you would be disappointed in a VLX, just something to consider, since you say you plan for this to be your last boat, i would at least look at a VLX.

Thanks!

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1 hour ago, JeffC said:

I think I was in a similar spot in January of 2017.

I had a Crownline 182, had returned to free slalom skiing after 30+ years and was having a ball.   BUT...  I had seen my kids surfing on another boat, and was interested in that for myself.   A long story made VERY short, we went to the Denver Boat show in Jan 2017, and wrestled HARD with the question between a VTX (an awesome crossover boat that will ski, wakeboard, and surf  - all very well), and a 22VLX.    I talked to tons of people.  I researched my brains out.  We went back a second day, and loaded both boats with adults recruited from the floor.     We ultimately decided on the 22VLX because of:

  • Extra 4" of beam, and secondarily the length.    Its shocking how much bigger the VLX feels.  We loaded 7 adults in both boats.   Either would have been workable, but the VLX felt much bigger and easier to get around in - bigger than you would think for a mere 4" wider.  We chose not to go even bigger (the 23LSV), mostly because of price.   At the time, I figured my average crew would be around 6.  In reality, we often have 7-9, and have had as many as 13 with a dog.  In retrospect the VTX would have been limiting - but YMMV, that is just us.
  • At 57 at the time, I knew my slalom days were limited, and any thoughts of running a course were really off the table.   I learned the hard way that high speed falls hurt a lot more at that age than they did in my mid 20's. 
  • I was really taken with WakeSurfing, tons of fun, and much lower impact. 

I wound up custom ordering a VLX with a diamond hull.  After three full seasons, my observations are:

  • The VLX is not a great slalom boat, even with the diamond hull.    With a light crew (3, the minimum legal here in CO), front ballast half full, at 30-31 mph the wake starts to lay down.  I have slalomed behind my nephews Sunsettter, and was spoiled by the flat ski wake.   The VLX has an odd small dip as you come out of the propwash, then the wake, then the flat outside the wake.   Skiable to be sure (one or two skis), but at my age, I wasnt ready to attack that as aggressively as I might have liked to.   I found that dip to be just a little unnerving, I didn't want to dig the tip of the ski in and cartwheel my old fat body and lose a part or all of the season to an injury.    As I have put on 3 more years, I find that I really dont crave slalom anymore, but I do crave surf... worse than any water sport ever for me.   I now load 3 boards, and unless I know someone specifically wants to ski, I dont even load the slalom, or my pair of skis on the boat anymore. 
  • The VLX is a great surf boat.   I have 550 PNP bags in the rear.  The boat surfs best with a crew of 7-8.  It likes bow weight, so with a small crew I have to bleed off some of the ballast in the rear so that the boat doesnt plow.   Im adding a portable bow sac this year to allow me to surf a big wave with a small crew. 
  • The VLX is a great Wakeboard boat (although I cant say that from personal experience, only from what my kids have told me). 
  • We use the boat in many different ways...  A typical day is out early,  everyone gets a surf set or two, then we head to a cove when the main channel starts to get rough.   We hang there for 3-4 hours, -  have lunch, float, paddleboard, play with the dog, etc etc.  If we stay late enough we might go back out for another surf set.  For US and the way we use it, the VLX is pretty close to a perfect all around boat.   But if you are into Slalom, I think the VTX is the better choice if it is large enough for your crew.

Just our $.02, your mileage may vary.   Take it as a data point. 

Im pretty sure you cant go wrong with either boat, they are both awesome.   BTW, My nephew with the Sunsetter just boat a VTX.  He is a hard core slalom guy, surf is fun, but is secondary to him.   Im just the opposite, hard core surf, secondary skiing.   I wanted just a LITTLE more room.  Both of us are VERY happy. 

Great feedback just what I was looking for.  We will look at the VLX.  Smaller family, big load for us is 4 adults and a couple of kids so we will see.

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1 hour ago, JeffC said:

I think I was in a similar spot in January of 2017.

I had a Crownline 182, had returned to free slalom skiing after 30+ years and was having a ball.   BUT...  I had seen my kids surfing on another boat, and was interested in that for myself.   A long story made VERY short, we went to the Denver Boat show in Jan 2017, and wrestled HARD with the question between a VTX (an awesome crossover boat that will ski, wakeboard, and surf  - all very well), and a 22VLX.    I talked to tons of people.  I researched my brains out.  We went back a second day, and loaded both boats with adults recruited from the floor.     We ultimately decided on the 22VLX because of:

  • Extra 4" of beam, and secondarily the length.    Its shocking how much bigger the VLX feels.  We loaded 7 adults in both boats.   Either would have been workable, but the VLX felt much bigger and easier to get around in - bigger than you would think for a mere 4" wider.  We chose not to go even bigger (the 23LSV), mostly because of price.   At the time, I figured my average crew would be around 6.  In reality, we often have 7-9, and have had as many as 13 with a dog.  In retrospect the VTX would have been limiting - but YMMV, that is just us.
  • At 57 at the time, I knew my slalom days were limited, and any thoughts of running a course were really off the table.   I learned the hard way that high speed falls hurt a lot more at that age than they did in my mid 20's. 
  • I was really taken with WakeSurfing, tons of fun, and much lower impact. 

I wound up custom ordering a VLX with a diamond hull.  After three full seasons, my observations are:

  • The VLX is not a great slalom boat, even with the diamond hull.    With a light crew (3, the minimum legal here in CO), front ballast half full, at 30-31 mph the wake starts to lay down.  I have slalomed behind my nephews Sunsettter, and was spoiled by the flat ski wake.   The VLX has an odd small dip as you come out of the propwash, then the wake, then the flat outside the wake.   Skiable to be sure (one or two skis), but at my age, I wasnt ready to attack that as aggressively as I might have liked to.   I found that dip to be just a little unnerving, I didn't want to dig the tip of the ski in and cartwheel my old fat body and lose a part or all of the season to an injury.    As I have put on 3 more years, I find that I really dont crave slalom anymore, but I do crave surf... worse than any water sport ever for me.   I now load 3 boards, and unless I know someone specifically wants to ski, I dont even load the slalom, or my pair of skis on the boat anymore. 
  • The VLX is a great surf boat.   I have 550 PNP bags in the rear.  The boat surfs best with a crew of 7-8.  It likes bow weight, so with a small crew I have to bleed off some of the ballast in the rear so that the boat doesnt plow.   Im adding a portable bow sac this year to allow me to surf a big wave with a small crew. 
  • The VLX is a great Wakeboard boat (although I cant say that from personal experience, only from what my kids have told me). 
  • We use the boat in many different ways...  A typical day is out early,  everyone gets a surf set or two, then we head to a cove when the main channel starts to get rough.   We hang there for 3-4 hours, -  have lunch, float, paddleboard, play with the dog, etc etc.  If we stay late enough we might go back out for another surf set.  For US and the way we use it, the VLX is pretty close to a perfect all around boat.   But if you are into Slalom, I think the VTX is the better choice if it is large enough for your crew.

Just our $.02, your mileage may vary.   Take it as a data point. 

Im pretty sure you cant go wrong with either boat, they are both awesome.   BTW, My nephew with the Sunsetter just boat a VTX.  He is a hard core slalom guy, surf is fun, but is secondary to him.   Im just the opposite, hard core surf, secondary skiing.   I wanted just a LITTLE more room.  Both of us are VERY happy. 

This is 100% accurate and my story exactly. All the info above about slalom shape is exactly how I’d describe it as well. We just traded our 22VLX diamond hull for a 25LSV.  Lol, and Jeff has my bow bag now. :)

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3 hours ago, Slurpee said:

This is 100% accurate and my story exactly. All the info above about slalom shape is exactly how I’d describe it as well. We just traded our 22VLX diamond hull for a 25LSV.  Lol, and Jeff has my bow bag now. :)

Literally.... ..... Laughing out loud.   Tommy's was working on a 25LSV with my wife big time at the boat show this past January.   She disappeared... then found me looking at gear.    The next thing I know Im wandering around in the 25 and she is doing the demo.  Who needs sales when your wife can demo the boat.   Unfortunately,  not going to happen, I dont have the space to keep it, and I would have to swap trucks... AGAIN.  But the 25 is one HELL of a nice boat.   

Bow bag has arrived, my pump has not yet.   Hoping it gets here before Saturday so that I can put something together to surf with the smaller crew. 

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49 minutes ago, JeffC said:

Literally.... ..... Laughing out loud.   Tommy's was working on a 25LSV with my wife big time at the boat show this past January.   She disappeared... then found me looking at gear.    The next thing I know Im wandering around in the 25 and she is doing the demo.  Who needs sales when your wife can demo the boat.   Unfortunately,  not going to happen, I dont have the space to keep it, and I would have to swap trucks... AGAIN.  But the 25 is one HELL of a nice boat.   

Bow bag has arrived, my pump has not yet.   Hoping it gets here before Saturday so that I can put something together to surf with the smaller crew. 

The difference is my wife made the sale. LOL. And it fits in the dock.... barely.  I don't want to think about towing it.  Glad I don't need to very often.

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More anecdotal experience.  I came from a 21' Monterey I/O.  I've always loved slalom skiing which has all been free skiing.  I wanted something that skied better (not hard to find) but also I wanted to try surfing out.  I'm on the 2nd year with a '13 VTX and I'm enjoying slalom skiing far more than I ever have.  I'm 45 y/o and it's allowed me to continue to get better at something I enjoy.  Surfing has been fun but to be honest, it only something I do when the water's not perfect to ski.  Maybe a bigger wave would increase the level of fun to where it'd become my primary water sport but as it is nothing compares to a ski set.  My only complaint (if you can call it that) is that with my family being six of us, inviting an entire other family is difficult as it gets crowded. 

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We just purchased a brand new leftover 2017 VTX last spring, so I have experience from last summer and this spring with the exact boat you are inquiring about.   

We had a very similar situation to yours, where we love to slalom but also wanted to be able to surf and have enough room for family and friends without tripping over the engine hump in a DD. The VTX has been the perfect boat for what we love to do on the water. Like others above have stated, it's not the king of any one activity, but it does everything really well. I can't express how cool it has been for us to go out in the early mornings to ski, and then when we are done, just tap a button to fill up the ballasts, and we are surfing the rest of the day.

With all that said, I think it's important to note the ski wake is certainly harder than the wakes I am used to from our previous Ski Nautique 200. I tried some of @ahopkinsVTX suggestions for the best VTX slalom setup from a separate thread, and that has helped a ton. For free skiing on glassy water, the VTX wake is great. I probably just wouldn't expect any records to be broken in the course. In my personal opinion, if slalom is something you are serious about, the VTX is the only Malibu option outside of a DD. Any bigger a boat and the wakes are just going to get too steep and hard to enjoyably ski at a high level. 

The surf wake on the other hand has pleasantly surprised me. I often surf behind two different 23 LSVs, a 2014 and brand new 2020. While the VTX wake is not going to be on the same level as those boats, with the addition of plug and play bags, 200-300 extra pounds in the bow, speed set to eleven, and the wedge one or two clicks from Vert, I don't find myself wishing I was behind those other boats all the time instead. I can still get back far behind the boat and achieve the wave height I want to always have a great time surfing. 

As far as the size of the boat, our crew typically varies from 3 to 6 people plus a couple small dogs, though we have had up to 8 people on the boat a few times. In all those scenarios, the boat has never felt too cramped to us, though it does get a little more snuggly with 8 people. I would start to ponder other boats at the expense of skiing if you regularly have a crew size of 8 and up. The other advantages to the 20' length are it fits in the garage in the winter, gets past some lake restrictions, is easier to tow and trailer,  and the lighter weight meant we didn't have to buy a beefier lift for keeping the boat out of the water in the summer.

I have never wakeboarded, so I can't provide any input on that topic, unfortunately... But overall, the VTX is an awesome boat that can make everyone in the family happy. 

 

Edited by TsNoteboom
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